After striving all season long to constantly improve, and to be the top team in the conference, the Havre High School track and field team will finally get a chance to see just how far they have come.
But it won’t be an easy weekend for the Central A Blue Ponies, even with the divisional meet being held in Havre this year. With the Belgrade Panthers, Lewistown Golden Eagles, Livingston Rangers and Browning Indians making up the Central A division, the field of competition is going to be as tough as ever.
The Central A divisional track meet is set to take place at the Havre Middle School Track. The meet will run today and Saturday, with the top athletes moving on to the Class A state meet in Bozeman next weekend.
Havre High houses a lot of top athletes, on both the boys and girls teams. But it looks like the Panthers could take the top spot on both sides. The Panthers also have a solid core of performers, but it is their numbers and depth that has them out in front of the competition already.
“Their numbers dominate the conference,” Havre High head coach Trevor VanCampen said. “They are going to dominate events with their depth and the amount of kids they can enter into each event, and they are really the the only team with the ability to do that right now. I would say that makes them favored, but teams like Lewistown also have very strong and quality athletes.”
The Eagles and Ponies could very well find themselves battling it out for second place, again on both the boys and girls side of things.
In a meet where the Ponies will be battling numbers they just don’t have, HHS is going to heavily rely on their top athletes. Havre has a select group of competitors that have placed the Ponies all season long, and while they will be expected to place in their top events, they will also be looked at to step it up in a couple of extra to help boost team totals.
For the boys team, Mason Case (sprints), Thurman Holdsclaw (pole vault), Thomas Gruber (pole vault), Zach Plum (pole vault), Matt Emge (pole vault), Garrett Aguillard (distance), Marc Klimas (distance) and Derek VanDessel (distance) have led the way this season. But while they have their select few events that they have all helped the Ponies dominate, they will be expected to step up even more. Holdsclaw will do his part by also competing in triple jump and long jump, while athletes like Case will also step up and run the 400.
The story will be the same for the HHS girls. But leading the way so far this season has been Peyton Filius (distance), Lacey Waid (pole vault), Sammy Evans (long jump, high jump, triple jump and 100), Ashlynn VanVoast (hurdles and middle distance) and Jennifer Nordgulen (jumps).
Kade Rismon (shot put), Ryne Antley (jumps) and Kiana Stump (distance) have also stepped up for the Ponies late in the season, and could turn some heads. Rismon threw the shot put over 42 feet already this season, but will need a big toss if he hopes to make the state meet.
“We have a lot of strong competitors,” VanCampen said. “And we have the quality athletes it takes to do well at divisionals. Like I said, we lack depth, but we expect our top kids to do what they have done all season. Their No. 1 events will take priority over the others, but they need to place wherever they can for us to even have a chance, and we can’t have any unexpected faults.
“Team titles are always in the foreground,” VanCampen added. “It has been four years since the boys team won the division, and that was the last time either team has brought home a trophy. We want to bring home a trophy every year, but getting as many kids entered into the state meet as we can is the ultimate goal for this weekend.”
Belgrade will make it tough on the Ponies, but HHS and Lewistown could find themselves in a tight race for a top spot. Livingston and Browning also have some talent, but if the Ponies perform to the level they are capable of, they should be able to out produce the Indians and Rangers.
“We have a great group of kids this year,” VanCampen said. “They have done everything the coaches have asked of them and have competed hard.”
HHS will host the Central A meet today and Saturday at the Havre Middle School Track.
2012 Central A
Divisional Track Meet
at the Havre
Middle School Track
Friday: Meet begins at 4 p.m. Finals will be held Friday, May 25
Saturday: Meet begins at 10 a.m. with warmups at 9:30 a.m.
Top six placers in each boys and girls event qualify for the Class A state meet next Friday and Saturday in Bozeman.